Saturday, September 25, 2010

Letter to Sharron Angle by Autism Dad

from AutismParents.NET - Letter to Sharron Angle by Autism Dad

Dear Sharron Angle,

Your recent comments on health insurance for autism and the “air quotes” you used when with the term autism are seen as an offense to many parents and caregivers of kids with autism. When you talk about insurance companies should not being paying for therapies like ABA, Applied Behavior Analysis, because people like you shouldn’t have to pay for someone else’s problem; it shows me that you are pretty uninformed on both autism and insurance.

First, that’s not the way insurance works. Insurance is a transfer of risk. I haven’t had cancer, but I am paying for people who do when I pay my premiums. You take out insurance to reduce the risk that everything you own will be wiped out just because you got sick or in this case, your child has an autism spectrum disorder.

I get where you’re stance comes from with the tea party. I actually really love Ron Paul and like what I call the “sane wing” of the tea party that is an offshoot of Dr. Paul’s 2008 campaign. You seem to be leaning more towards the “nucking futs” wing more interested in co-opting the message for your own gain. It’s folks like you that prevent the liberty movement from growing further.

You are missing some critical pieces of this whole autism equation. The very services that you are talking about insurance companies shouldn’t be paying are the services that will help many of these kids grow up and be productive premium paying citizens.

This is a clear PAY NOW or PAY LATER issue. The insurance companies don’t care about the later part since that will be up to someone else to worry about. This is very short term thinking and you are guilty of more of the same.

It’s one thing to be for individual liberty. I applaud that, but individual liberty also includes the right not to be screwed by the insurance and pharmaceutical industries who have bought and paid for the privilege of doing just that to many families impacted by autism. They own the legislative and executive branches and cut off remedies via the judicial branch. Our political system has been consumed with corporatism irrelevant to political party and you seem to be well on your way to being bought and paid for as well.

In any case, as pure political advice, stirring up the community of autism parents against you isn’t a good thing for your campaign. I would love to hear you discuss this issue in more depth on your next Sean Hannity infomercial.


PS - By the way, insurance barely pays this stuff NOW. The little it does cover for autism requires the policy holder to jump through about 500 hoops in precisely the right order. They deny everything by default and hope you don’t have the time or energy to fight it. They are great at accepting our premiums, but totally incompetent on the other side when claims are submitted. Their systems are designed to confuse, confound and delay on the claims end.


  1. Insurance is indeed a transfer of risk. The higher the number of paying customers, the greater the benefits to patients will major illnesses.

    In 2014, we will take a step that will help with national health care reform. But it will fail unless the mandates are increased and enough money flows into the system.

    Otherwise, without question, we'll have a single-payer system, which will not be a positive change.

  2. I am a clinical psychologist who is currently working as an autism care advocate for a major managed care company. My clinician colleagues and I think the state mandates are the best thing that has happened to kids with autism in a long time, and we are working hard to help families make use of their benefit. We don't "deny everything by default", but we do screen therapists and review treatment plans to help ensure that children are getting effective treatment.

  3. I know how you feel. Not to change the subject, but many people are under the impression that autistic chilren receiving supplemental social security (SSI) are not entitled to the benefits. Little do people know that those beneifts are taken from the workng parent's social security. This is the only way they receive benefits, otherwise they are ineligible. SSI coupled with state aided health insurance pays for behavioral health services, doctors visits, and long term care if needed. A final word, Dad, don't let these ignorant people get under your skin. I am sure that your family never had the opportunity before now to tap into that unused tax base. Utilize as much of that money as you can, and hold your head high.

  4. How about spending some tax money figuring out why autism is so high in our country compared to other countries that seem to have very little.....AND THEN FIXING IT. Wouldn't it be nice to have a government that worked that way? Sharron Angle is not different than Harry Reid. They both care about the same thing....their personal wealth.


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